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The New Testament’s Tithe

Posted on December 19, 2015

By James Jordan

In 1979, Ross House Books (P. O. Box 67, Vailecito, CA 95251) brought out a book by R. J. Rushdoony and E. A. Powell entitled Tithing and Dominion. This fine book abounds in useful and penetrating insights, and well sets forth one particular viewpoint regarding the tithe in Scripture. During the last several years, I have also been studying and wrestling with the Biblical material regarding the tithe. I have come to a number of conclusions which are at variance with those presented in Timing and Dominion. In the interest of furthering the cause of Christian Reconstruction, I am here making available to a wider audience my own lines of reasoning. Further work needs to be done in this area, I am sure, and it is as contributions to larger discussion that both Tithing and Dominion and this essay of mine should be regarded.

Contrary to the impression of some, the Christian Reconstruction movement does not have a “party line,” except for a commitment to the careful study and application of every jot and tittle of Scripture. Rushdoony’s monumental Institutes of Biblical Law should not be regarded as the last word on all the subjects it takes up. To take the book that way would be to violate its very purpose, which is to set out first principles, or “institutes.” Rushdoony invites us to a discussion, and this essay, in that it differs at some point from Rushdoony’s own (initial) conclusions, is a contribution to that discussion.

To anticipate my own conclusions, let me say here that I see in Scripture only one tithe, and that in normal circumstances that tithe should be administered by the elders of the local churches. Powell and Rushdoony see three different tithes in Scripture, and do not see the local elders as the primary administrators of the tithe.

To save space, and to enable the reader better to come to grips with the specific points involved, I have written this essay as a series of numbered propositions, each of which is open for debate. By no means have I attempted to cover all aspects of the tithe; indeed, the many valuable insights in Tithing and Dominion are not reproduced here. The reader is encouraged to obtain a copy of that book for himself or herself, and read it in conjunction with this essay.

The Melchizedekal Tithe

1. The Old Covenant was a provisional administration of grace and law, while in the New Covenant the kingdom of God and the law of God are established definitively (Rom. 3:31). The Cultural Mandate was restricted under the Old Covenant (Gal. 4:1ff.), but fully republished in the New. The restrictive nature of the Old Covenant was due to the fact that the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified, and thus power for dominion was limited (John 7:38,39).

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